Mike Soucy was happy with the way his Hollis Brookline High School boys lacrosse team played Tuesday in its new six-on-six defense.
If only the Cavaliers could have played more of it, things might have been different.
Playing a zone defense for the first time in a game this season, HB slowed down Derryfield when things were even. But the Cougars were able to get several transition and man-up opportunities, and took advantage of most of them, beating the Cavs 14-5 in a battle of Division III unbeatens.
HB (10-1) took a 2-0 lead in the first five-plus minutes of the game, but Derryfield tied it up by the end of the first quarter, and outscored the Cavs 6-0 in the second, with three of those goals coming with the Cougars a man-up. Two of the others came off HB turnovers and another was off a faceoff, as Derryfield (14-0) scored 11 straight goals to lead by nine in the second half.
“We didn’t lose the game six-on-six, we lost it in transition and with a man-down,” Soucy said. “That’s where they beat us. We weren’t doing a good job at the faceoff X and our wing play was poor. We weren’t getting in there to get the groundballs.”
Ryan Papineau and Patrick Dunn put the Cavs up just 5:22 into the game, but HB wouldn’t score again until the final two minutes of the third quarter. And even when the Cavs gained momentum – they added another goal with three-tenths of a second left in the third to make it 11-5 – Derryfield stomped on it, scoring eight second into the fourth quarter.
“They came out and threw a zone at us and we had to be patient and settle,” Derryfield coach Chris Hettler said. “We have practiced zone offense all year, but when you play against a really good team, and they execute really well, it takes a while to get the jitters out.
“They’re a great team and I don’t think that score accurately shows how good they are. We got some breaks and we were able to capitalize.”
Papineau led HB with three goals and Dunn finished with two, while Zach Nardone and Sam Whitaker each had an assist. But while the five goals tied the most Derryfield has allowed in a game this season, it was also the fewest the Cavs have scored, and only the second time they’ve been held under 15.
“We had some opportunities we missed,” Soucy said. “We’ve got to bury those against a good team. There’s plenty to be encouraged by and there’s plenty to work on.”
Hettler felt his team’s depth played a big part in slowing down HB’s offense.
“I think our depth played a big role with the way we had to play their top three guys,” he said. “We continued to put pressure on those guys and I think that wore them down.”
Derryfield tied the game with 2:09 left in the first quarter, and a penalty on Nardone at the end of the first put the Cougars a man-up to start the second. Derryfield needed just 31 seconds to take the lead on a goal by Grant Alenson, and after another HB penalty, Alenson scored again with 7:45 left in the half to make it 4-2.
Less than a minute later, HB goalie Logan Blake was called for a delay of game penalty and backup Trevor Cooke had to enter the game. Cooke played the rest of the half and made four saves, but the Cougars were able to put four goals past him, including one with Blake in the box.
“He came in in a tough situation and he made some big saves, but again, we were a man down,” Soucy said. “You can’t give those opportunities to a good team.”